Ex-NFL Cheerleader Details Harsh Requirements

Baltimore Ravens can't gain any weight, and must make sure to stay tan
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2014 11:40 AM CST
The Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders perform during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Houston Texans in Baltimore, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(Newser) – In case the story of the Raiderette who only makes $5 an hour wasn't enough to convince you that NFL cheerleading is not a great career path, Deadspin talks to a former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader who makes the job sound even worse—and passed along a "Rules and Regulations" document. When she was on the team in 2009 (and her friends still on the team say not much has changed):

  • Cheerleaders were weighed at the beginning of each season and benched if they gained any weight.
  • Cheerleaders were also expected to maintain a hair and makeup standard throughout the season; even with a 50% salon discount, that could cost roughly $1,000.
  • Great hair-related line from the document: "Curlers and any other offensive personal effects must never be worn to games, practices, or personal appearances."

  • Cheerleaders were also required to "have a warm skin color tone for every gameday," which meant fairer cheerleaders had to go to the tanning salon.
  • Cheerleaders had to buy at least 100 copies of the annual swimsuit calendar for $12 each; they could then sell them for $15 each to make a few bucks.
  • There were also strict rules about social networking; any other opportunities, like modeling or acting, had to be approved; and it was rare to be allowed to miss practice for any reason.
And all of this was done for peanuts: Cheerleaders got $100 to $125 for home games, an equivalent of $7.14 per hour when practices were taken into account; they now make $7.75 per hour (minimum wage). And they sometimes made about $50 per hour while doing appearances, but there aren't many of those per season, and some don't pay at all. So why do it? Deadspin's source describes the experience as basically a hobby, not a job, and says for most cheerleaders, the excitement of gameday is worth it. (And apparently some teams' cheerleaders have it better; Redskins cheerleaders apparently get their hair done for free.) Click for the full piece. (Read more cheerleaders stories.)

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